Happy to find this forum for a husband and wife DIY pair.
My hubby and I recently purchased a newer (built 2004), "short sale" home in Mountain House, California - which is about 40 miles East of San Francisco, and 40 miles South of Sacramento, and about 350 miles North of Los Angeles - right in the middle of everything.
Although our home is less than 10 years old, we're slowly doing some upgrades to a fairly "stock" tract home that wasn't taken care of properly by the former owners. We were fortunate enough to purchase the home at a steal of a deal on 1/4 acre of land - which is a huge amount of property by California standards.
My hopes are to add on to the home in the next year or two with the equity we've gained by purchasing the home as a short-sale and the recovering housing market here in CA. Until then, we're doing some smaller projects.